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Publisher's Summary

Mark Antony, famous warrior and legendary lover, expects that he will be Julius Caesar's successor. But when Caesar is murdered, his 18-year-old nephew, Octavian, is named as his heir. No one, least of all Antony, expects Octavian to last; but his youth and slight frame conceal a remarkable determination and a sharp strategic mind. Under Octavian's rule, the empire is divided, with Antony responsible for the fabulously rich East. There he meets Cleopatra, who is still mourning Caesar, her lover and the father of her only son. Despite his marriage to Octavian's sister, Antony is fascinated by the Egyptian queen. Drawn together by grief, ambition, passion, and politics, they begin a very public love affair, and the tension between Antony and Octavian, already simmering, soon threatens to erupt into war.
©2007 Colleen McCullough; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks America

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Not in the least disappointed

I found this book to be totally engrossing. With the exception of "October Horse," I've now read (or, as is the case with this book, listened to) all of the volumes in the Masters of Rome series. I was not in least disappointed.

As the story began, I initially thought Octavian to be a wonderful, sensitive charater, Marc Antony to be a cad, and Cleoptra a tragic queen. Over time, Octavian turned out to be a brutish, though masterful manipulator of events and people, Marc Antony became an even more egotistical, maniacal, bumbling cad, while Cleopatra couldn't seem to reconcile her lust for power with her lust for Marc Antony. On the whole, I found the characters to be multi-facted and complex.

Lastly, I thought the narration was excellent. At no time was I disturbed by pronunciation or ennunciation. Voice characterizations were consistent throughout and excellently performed.

Overall, I highly recommmend.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Thinking in Ancient Roman

As ever, Colleen McCullough captures the very flavor of an ancient culture. Anyone interested in the lives and events of the Roman Empire should be fascinated, as I was, with this and all her novels of that world-changing city-state. The sense of adventure is a constant in her telling of history and the characters have distinct personalities. Just when you start feeling a familiarity with one, their response or actions in a given circumstance will sharply demonstrate how different the thinking and mores were. This is one of the most thoroughly enjoyable historical novels I have ever read. For readers who agree with me, I also heartily recommend "First Man in Rome."

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Politics, politics and more politics

Would you listen to Antony and Cleopatra again? Why?

I don't think I would only because it was very long, and complicated.

What did you like best about this story?

I am a history buff so I enjoyed the details in the book, things that are not usually entered in the shorter works.

Which character – as performed by Sneha Mathan – was your favorite?

I think she did a great job with Marc Anthony, Caesarian, and Cleopatra.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were many, otherwise I could not have finished and enjoyed this "big" book.

Any additional comments?

If you like history and are not afraid of lots of detail you will like this book. It helps that the narrator was easy to listen to.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Another Man Thinks Through the Wrong Head

Where does Antony and Cleopatra rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I really enjoyed the entire "Masters of Rome" series by Colleen McCullough. This book is definitely near the bottom in the series. Both due to the storyline as well as the characters involved.

This story is a tragedy in real life and in novel form.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I very much liked Octavius. His development started in the prior book at Caesar's death and progresses well during this book. He is a very likeable person and seems to be growing into becoming an enlightened leader.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

This book is a male-driven book. Cleopatra's role is secondary. Using a feminine voice to narrate is wrong and severely detracts from the quality of this book. Whoever made that decision should be fired.

Its not called ANTONY and Cleopatra for nothing.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

This story is too big for a single movie. It would require a series. Antony and Cleopatra: Rise of the Emperor

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed the entire Masters of Rome series. This book is the weakest of the series because it does not revolve around the rise of a single character. The book is split among Antony, Octavius, and Cleopatra. No one character predominates so the storyline wanders too much. The prior books are able to develop the character of the lead to a great depth. That lack of depth, despite the size of this book, limits the readers enjoyment.

Yet I very much enjoyed watching Octavius growth and development.

I recommend the book. Just be warned the narrator detracts from the enjoyment.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Reed
  • Marlborough, NH, United States
  • 05-28-14

I tried, but could not get into it

I have to admit that I didn't get that far into this book before deciding that the dissonance of the narrator's American accent swamped my determination to differentiate and get to know these characters.

Contrast the narration of Antony and Cleo to the brilliant performance of Simon Jones reading Robert Harris's Imperium series -- or don't, as Simon Jones and his ilk are so much better at bringing characters to life through nuance in speech that comparison would be odious. The best of the British readers are able to define a great deal about a character by dialect and patois, making it much easier to keep track of a vast cast in a long story. In my experience listening to "Rome-themed" books, American narrators who would be perfectly acceptable reading a contemporary novel rarely ring true reading characters from ancient history. I found myself having to rewind again and again to recall who was speaking, and I finally gave up. It didn't help that the story wasn't immediately compelling.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • NAMPA, IDAHO, United States
  • 01-29-14

Not as good as First man of Rome

I really enjoyed the unabridged version of First Man of Rome (not available anymore) I considered it historical fiction at its best. Just enough detail to make it seem like I was learning something but at the same time very entertaining.
This is the only other non abridged book in the series but I didn't care for it at all. It felt more like a romance novel. (Not that there is anything wrong with a romance novel if that is what you are into :) It felt like a synopsis of what was going on historically with descriptions of encounters and clothing thrown in. Not for me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Natalya
  • JAMAICA PLAIN, MA, United States
  • 02-28-12

Essential Book for Romaphiles

If you could sum up Antony and Cleopatra in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, engaging, magnificent.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cleaopatra, of course. She is such a complex character. Hardly the whore the Romans made her out to be, she is brilliantly intelligent, wise beyond her years, cunning, devoted, talented, a great ruler who cared about the welfare of her people, sexy without being pretty, charming, and tragic. Without the benefit of beauty, she uses her wit and

What about Sneha Mathan’s performance did you like?

She doesn't over-do voices but manages to make them distinguishable. She reads at the right pace and has great inflection.

If you could take any character from Antony and Cleopatra out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Livia Drucilla. I found her to be another capable woman, but I'd like to know more about the Augusta.

Any additional comments?

This story has been told a million times, but this is the best-researched, most accurate, best written, and most compelling version of a great romance and key period in the development of Western Civilization. It's not just about Antony and Cleopatra. It's also very much about Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) and the period of Roman history when Rome transformed from a republic to an empire.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Disappointed

I have read all of the Rome series, and was sad that the author did not plan to write this seventh book. But now I wish she had not. I found the characters shallow and the plot flat, I listened to the end but this book is not up to her standards.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Fitting end to a wonderful series

McCullough's last Masters of Rome book finds a wonderful and tragic play on the familiar Antony and Cleopatra story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jessica
  • minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 03-24-08

disappointed

The story was dull, flat. And the reading was drooooning. I loved the First Man in Rome. I gave up on this after 4 hours.

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

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